Top speed isn’t a very important metric to the average driver, but when it comes to numbers you can brag about to your friends, it’s one of the most important stats there is. Because of this, the folks at Hennessey Performance took their Exorcist Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 out for a top speed run to give their customers a 200-plus-mph reason to buy their roughly $120,000 car.
Hennessey unveiled the Exorcist, a tuner special based on the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, last year as a foil for the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. At the time, the Demon’s 91-octane 808 hp and race-gas-enabled 840 hp wasn’t known, so Hennessey endowed the Exorcist with 1,000 hp just in case. Hennessey didn’t reveal any top speed estimates when the Exorcist was announced, but now we know how fast it’ll go.
The run was conducted at the Continental Tire Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas. There, pro driver and Ford Performance Driving School director Brian Smith drove the Exorcist Camaro on Continental’s 8.5-mile high-speed oval track to a Racelogic VBox-verified top speed of 217 mph.
To reach that speed, Hennessey replaced the 6.2-liter LT4 V-8’s stock supercharger with a new unit displacing 2.9 liters. The tuning firm also upgraded the intercooler system, CNC ported the heads, installed a new camshaft and reworked the valvetrain, designed a new stainless steel exhaust system with long-tube headers and high-flow catalytic converters, and retuned the ECU.
For comparison, Chevy was able to get a stock 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 making 650 hp to hit 202.3 mph going in one direction. While the Exorcist’s top speed is impressive, it’s nothing compared to the 300-mph result Hennessey is gunning for with its Venom F5 supercar. Top speed trials for that car won’t be carried out until 2019 at the earliest. In the meantime, Hennessey plans to do some acceleration tests with the Exorcist at the drag strip as well as handling and braking tests on a road course.
Watch the video below to go behind the scenes of the Hennessey Exorcist’s top speed run.